In August, Jon Stewart inexplicably forgot about Washington (and the legality of its weed). More recently, erstwhile replacement John Oliver committed similar oversight during his segment on the controversial “Race Together” campaign from Starbucks:
The story of Starbucks’ betrayal of the city of Seattle has been thoroughly rehearsed. And since it had been some time since that series of unfortunate events, Microsoft decided to remind Seattle it too can act with callous disregard of local sports icons.
Now, I like Microsoft. I use/am a PC. I have a Windows Phone. Which is how I came across this upsetting discovery:
Google gets all the buzz (pun intended) for its creative and whimsical doodles that often celebrate special occasions and people. For instance, here’s how the search engine decided to mark Mother’s Day:
But Google isn’t the only website that updates its otherwise-static home page on the daily. Ostensible rival search engine Bing hosts a rotating cast of photographs each day, which I happen to see because it is featured on the search screen of my Windows Phone.
Like Google doodles, these images are sometimes chosen to celebrate special occasions. Here’s what Bing has on display this Mother’s Day:
It’s nice to have your team land in the Superbowl. For two wonderful weeks, your city attracts media attention from every corner of the internet. Especially in Seattle, we don’t get a lot of it — which is why it’s important the national media get the facts right: They might not check in again for a while,
Many failed. Unfairly or not, I’m going to single out one egregious example, just to make Richard Sherman proud of me. In my own preemptive defense, this article has been up for five days now, and FOX still hasn’t managed to correct even the most basic egregious errors I noticed in my initial read-through. A few examples.
1. The headline: “Seattle hoping Seahawks bring home elusive championship.”
I had no idea that Bigfoot lives in Oklahoma — he doesn’t show up anywhere in this predicted range — until I read about one Sasquatch-hunting expedition in that state gone horribly wrong:
Rogers County Sheriff’s Department arrested three people in what appears to be an accidental shooting. One of the men told deputies he’d shot his friend while the two were on a Sasquatch hunting expedition.
. . .
The two men were hunting – apparently for Bigfoot – around 177th East Avenue and Tiger Switch Road Saturday night. Omar Pineda reportedly heard a “barking noise,” jerked and shot his friend in the back, authorities say.
My sympathy is minimal. Seems to me the people of Oklahoma feel unjustifiably entitled to set out and haul in a Sasquatch whenever they damn well please.
Turns out, Okies, you’ve gone after this guy one time too many:
Two years ago, at the conclusion of the NBA lockout and the commencement of the 2011-12 season, I wrote a post titled The NBA season just started and already things are starting to get awkward. Feel free to check it out — the whole thing is 58 words-and-a-picture long — but the main thrust was that the NBA was insensitive for choosing to sponsor a Tweet of any sort in the Seattle area.
Nearly two years later, and under similar circumstances, you might have thought the marketers of the world learned their lesson — but apparently, they don’t all read my blog. Which is how we ended up with this:
Flash back to 1847. The Donner party set out along the Oregon Trail to reach California, but was trapped in the Wasatch range of Utah. Its members resorted to cannibalism in order to survive the harsh winter.
Just four years later, and perhaps wary of meating [sic] the Donner party’s fate, the Denny party arrived at the future site of Seattle — sensibly, by boat. They named their landing site “New York alki” — alki being the native word for “by the by” or “someday.” And so, precisely coincident with the founding of the City of Seattle, a good-natured (and perhaps one-sided) rivalry was born.
After a century and a half, Seattle has yet to live up to its aspirational name, and in no place is the discrepancy more apparent than on the field of play. New York is home to eleven* major league sports franchises, while the Emerald City boasts only three.
*I’m counting soccer only because it gives New York a bigger lead. Go Sounders!
Seattle would be home to four, but the Sonics absconded to Oklahoma City, taking with them “the city’s first and only major men’s sports championship.”
Or so the narrative goes — a narrative that is totally wrong.
In fact, Seattle once hosted a major league hockey team, which just so happened to become the first American team to ever win the Stanley Cup in 1917. Despite its early success, that team ceased to exist after 1924, but no worries: its name lives on courtesy of — read: it was adopted by — the New York Mets.*
*OK, technically there were also New York Metropolitans in the 1800s, well before there were Seattle Metropolitans, but I’m not going to let facts get in the way of my history.
Today, Seattle still dreams of landing a team in the NHL — but if the city is successful, we’d be happy to call it the Thunderbirds. You can have “Mets.” Let’s keep this a civil, good-natured rivalry: We pretend to steal your city’s name. You steal our hockey team’s name in retribution. We’ll all bury the hatchet and drink some coffee.
And so, despite occasional outbreaks of violence in the MLB playoffs, on former industrial sites, and on Seinfeld — in case you don’t recall: Seattle, George says, is “the pesto of cities” — the peace has largely held for years.
But it’s all starting to come apart. Witness what Jimmy Fallon coaxed Mets RHP Matt Harvey into doing before he started the All-Star Game:
$1.2 million evaporated on a flight from Switzerland to New York.
Edward Snowden is doing his best to disappear on a flight from Moscow to Ecuador.
And at Snowden’s destination, August Reiger just pulled off a vanishing act of his own.
The 18 year-old National Merit Scholar (lol) and high school valedictorian disappeared from an Ecuadorian bathroom a hiking trail in Banos, Ecuador, just minutes ahead of his family. I initially took interest in the case soon after Reiger disappeared because if you say “August Reiger” out loud, he basically shares my last name — days before Barack Obama followed suit and designated him a “missing patriot.” (I was a bit ahead of the curve, is what I’m saying.)
At first, the disappearance seemed like a complete mystery. The family and government officials offered no leads:
“Whatever happened to him was in the space of five or 10 minutes. We were right behind him,” his father says. “He couldn’t have gotten lost. The whole of the trail is visible from the hotel. You can see the way down. It’s a tourist area, and it’s not isolated at all. If he was hurt on the trail, somebody would have seen him.”
Police, firefighters, volunteers, and even the military have been searching for the teen; his father says authorities believe he either fell off a ledge or was kidnapped. [Editor’s note: authorities apparently have very limited imaginations. He could have also been eaten by a jaguar.]
But like any good game of Clue, the passage of time helps eliminate certain possibilities. For one thing, we know he didn’t fall off the cliff (or become dinner for a jaguar) because he was spotted Monday night in a truck headed for the Amazon — alive. For another, it seems unlikely he was kidnapped: the family has not been contacted by kidnappers, nor have they been asked for a ransom.
Of course, ruling out those options leave one other obvious alternative: that Reiger ran away. That possibility struck some who knew him as unlikely:
Close cousin to August Reiger, Laura Laporte, said their family is small and close.
“He’s sweet,” Laporte said. “People love him. He has big plans.”
She wants everyone to know the family believes Reiger disappearing on his own terms is out of the question.
“What we know in our hearts is that he’s not runaway,” Laporte said. “I have read that a couple of places that some people feel like he has done this intentionally. We know August and that’s just not something that could have been possible.”
Well add another notch to your Reiger counter: Paper Treiger is another place that suspects he did this intentionally. I arrived that conclusion through a combination of the process of elimination — not a cliff, not a jaguar, and not a kidnapping — and logical deduction. That logic kicked in when I came across one other quote intended to reassure the public that August did not run away — but which, in fact, accomplished precisely the opposite:
“He has got a full ride scholarship to OU [University of Oklahoma — I know it’s backwards, but at least it’s kosher]; he’s got a full life waiting for him in OKC.”
Did you just say Oklahoma City? Run, August. Run.
This evening, Macklemore performed at fake Spring Fling in New Haven. I did not attend, but the specter of the Thrift Shop rapper performing before hundreds/thousands/[insert official police estimate here] of adoring fans inexplicably called to mind an article that showed up in Slate back in February, “Macklemore NBA ad with Wings: Is the rapper a sellout?” Slate has since changed the article to “Macklemore’s Strangely Self-Censored NBA Promo”, but the original title is still visible in the url, or through the Google if you don’t believe me.
In case you didn’t come across the article when it first came out, Jordan Teicher used it to compare the original lyrics of Macklemore’s Wings with the truncated version that appeared in the NBA’s All-Star Weekend Preview: